Spoilers for all 5 seasons of Suits follow
Suits is awful. Suits is brilliant. Most people who’ve seen USA’s law drama can understand this sentiment. The 5th season of Suits just wrapped up in what I can only call a shocking final episode (Mike…), and I thought I’d reflect on the show for a bit so I can fully understand what makes me want/need to watch more of a show I know is so trashy.
Part of my attraction to this show comes from the premise. Mike’s position as illegal lawyer gives the show tension in every episode, by creating a large looming threat over the horizon that is teased every once in a while to ensure we haven’t forgotten Mike never went to Harvard, but only actually has any impact in season five, to the aforementioned shocking results. The constant overlaying tension makes anyone want to come back – anyone who’s seen the Danish/Swedish thriller The Bridge (i.e. the most tense show on TV) knows that tension draws in and keeps the crowd; we want, no, we need to see if Louis, or Hardman, or god forbid Woodall will find out about Mike and Harvey’s little secret.
Talking of Mike and Harvey, let’s talk more about… Mike and Harvey. The characters are another thing that make this show click, mainly because they’re all so over the top – to the extent that the one character who feels more real than the others (that’s really not saying much), Rachel Zane, becomes out of place in the heightened world of Suits. Mike is entertaining to watch because of his super memory powers and his classic banter with Harvey, who is entertaining to watch because he’s so goddamn good at his job, and also because when things don’t go his way he gets goddamn angry and says goddamn way more than it’s healthy to (Clicking this link may make God angry). Then we have Louis, my personal favourite, who is so goddamn (Ok, I’ll stop) over the top that it’s hard not to love him. And who could forget Donna, Harvey’s perfect secretary who would get annoying if only her one-liners weren’t so on point. And to top it all off, we have the seldom happy, always under threat Jessica, who just wants to save her goddamn (sorry) firm. Sprinkle in some fantastically hateable ‘baddies’ like the punchable Hardman or Fortsman, who is literally Satan, and you have yourself a supremely watchable cast.
The plot isn’t bad either, for the most part. Besides the whole ‘Mike didn’t go to Harvard law’ thing, the series throws all sorts of legal twists and turns at the viewer. While the law may not hold up under close scrutiny, it’s always fun to see well-dressed people spout off terminology you don’t understand and then slap someone (often literally) with a subpoena. The human drama is similarly unrealistic but fun. Standard TV tropes are pitfalls Suits is often more than happy to jump headfirst into, making sure not to mess up its tie in the process, which is a clunky metaphor for Suits’ sense of style, which is ever present in the sublime music choices and occasional stylistic shots and editing which make me happy inside.
Suits isn’t all sunshine and well ironed Hugo Boss, however, and the show definitely has its moments that make me question why I watch it. I mentioned Rachel briefly before, who is one of the biggest mistakes this show has. No offense to Meghan Markle, but Rachel is so goddamn (fuck) dull. She doesn’t do anything to influence her own life, and seems to have little plot importance outside of being Mike’s love interest (although the two have a complete lack of on-screen chemistry). The same could be said of Donna, but the writers at least make her funny and seemingly independent through the use of plot points such as her affair with Stephen and her going over to Louis (although those both end with her back at Harvey’s side… ugh, bye-bye feminism). It’s certainly showing that the only time I liked Rachel was when she had an ‘affair’ with Logan Sanders, and even then, he started it, keeping her a pawn in the events of her own life.
The other glaring problem Suits has is with change. For as much as the show likes to threaten us with changes to its main characters, they never come; Donna gets fired…then comes back, Mike quits to become a banker…then comes back, Harvey quits…then comes back. I could go on for ages, and I’m willing to bet Mike will be back working for Pearson Specter Litt (the name of the firm seems to be the only thing they’re willing to change) by the end of Season Six.
But I still love Suits. And I don’t want it to change. Suits isn’t high art, and it shouldn’t be. ‘Trashy’ is an easy word to throw around, but it shouldn’t necessarily be an insult. I know the amount of work that goes into this show, and I love how easy it is to watch, how silly Louis is – all that shit. So why write a review about it then? I was bored.